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Like father, like sons

Dayne Mickelson gives younger brother Todd a noogie.

Most fathers pass along the same eye color or a similar shaped nose to their children, but Tim Mickelson's two sons -- Lehigh student-athletes Dayne and Todd Mickelson -- inherited more than that from their old man.

"Todd and I both got our passion for the sciences from my dad, who's in the bio-medical field," says Dayne, a senior on the Mountain Hawks' basketball team. "And my father definitely instilled quite a competitive nature in both of us, something which serves us well in the sports we play as well as in the classroom."

How competitive is their father? In the family card games of "flap jacks" when the boys were young, Tim Mickelson never let his sons win. Or in the case of Todd (now a freshman rower at Lehigh), his dad -- a silver medalist in crew at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich -- would set a time for Todd's high school boat to reach. And once Todd reached that mark, his dad would hop on the Internet and locate an even faster, but still attainable, time for Todd to chase.

"My dad just wanted to teach the importance of a good work ethic," says Todd, who occupies the three-seat in Lehigh's top eight-man freshman boat. "My dad always told us that if you do your best, then good things will happen."

So far, their dad's been right. Dayne, a blue-collar-type player who never shies away from the dirty work, has blossomed into a leader for the Mountain Hawks, a squad that went to the 2004 NCAA Tournament and is hungry to return there in March.

"Going to the NCAA Tournament was a dream come true," Dayne says. "It was great to be one of 65 teams still playing last year while everyone else was at home watching. Everyone has gotten a taste of it and the goal is to get back there."

Dayne usually reaches his goals on and off the court. Thanks to his strong grades as a computer engineering major, Dayne has qualified for a fifth year of studies at Lehigh free in 2005-06 as part of the President's Scholar Program. He'll either use the extra year working toward a master's degree in engineering or taking classes that he'll need to attend medical school.

Dayne's positive experience convinced Todd to head completely across country to attend Lehigh, rather than attend schools closer to his family's home in the state of Washington.

"The more that I came to Lehigh to visit Dayne, the more I liked the campus, the school, everything about Lehigh," Todd says. "It offered me the best of both worlds, an excellent engineering school [Todd is leaning toward civil engineering] and a good crew program. The quality of crew programs is traditionally much stronger on the East Coast than out West, so I thought Lehigh would challenge me as a student and an athlete."

He's only been in the Lehigh Valley a few months, but Todd has already flashed the Mickelsons' trademark competitiveness -- impressing the coaches in the team's dawn workouts and during the fall crew schedule with his athleticism, strong technique (which Todd credits to his father's tutoring), and his potential.

"Todd is a strong athlete with very good technique. Beyond that, he is a quality individual with good values," says Lehigh crew coach Paul Savell. "I think Todd's father's Olympic experience helps Todd to understand the competitiveness and discipline it takes to be a successful rower. I think he'll be a great asset to our team over the next four years."

--Bill Doherty

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin
Winter 2005

Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005

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